CHICAGO - U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is "not the tooth fairy," a top Fed official told Fox Business Network Monday, suggesting the Fed chief won't use a speech later this week to extend new monetary stimulus.
"His job is not to leave presents under the pillow of people who have desires that may not be easily fulfilled," Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said, according to a partial transcript provided by the network. "Our job is to put things right in the long term."
Asked what Bernanke will say at a highly-anticipated speech Friday at an annual central bank conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fisher said "You'll learn when you hear him speak. Ben Bernanke's not the tooth fairy."
The U.S. economy is limping along, and earlier this month the Fed's policy-setting panel signaled it will keep interest rates near zero for the next two years to help out.
Fisher was one of three policymakers who dissented on the decision to freeze interest rates for two years, and Monday he said the move is a "distraction" that could actually discourage businesses from investing.
"Now they know they can put off an expense because the cost of borrowing will be held at a very low rate for two years," Fisher said. "I just think it's not an incentive, it's a disincentive."
Despite his dissent, Fisher came to Bernanke's defense, calling him a patriot who is "doing the best he can to guide the Federal Reserve."
Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said last week that any further Fed monetary easing would be "almost treacherous, treasonous."
"I don't think I would take it too seriously," Fisher said of Perry's comments. "I find it hard to believe that Governor Perry in his most hyperbolic moment meant that literally."
Fisher reiterated his view that the Fed has already given the economy enough gas, and that the real reason that the economy is not growing faster than it is is because of "dysfunctional government."
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